How was everybody’s weekend? It was dreary and kinda cold here in Chicago…it has been for awhile. A warm, sunny day is way past due. One of my good friends is moving to Singapore in September so she threw a party on Saturday to celebrate. She hosted a pig roast…this was a definite first for me. As we were driving to her house it was pouring rain and I was wondering how the heck Catherine and Glen would roast a pig in this weather. Of course I was imagining a huge pig rotating around on a spit. I’m so naive! We live in Chicago…we have tiny balconies, not yards! Catherine picked up a whole (already cooked) pig in Chinatown, Glen carved it and we all pigged out!
Now that grilling season has officially started we need to make some nice, easy salads that don’t require cooking. How nice is it to throw together a quick salad with no oven and prepare the rest of the meal on the grill while sitting on the patio and enjoying the evening? Especially after a long. cold winter. So ready for nice weather and pool days. This weekend Cliff and I went to the nursery and bought some vegetable plants for our raised garden bed. We decided to scale back a little this year. Last year we had more tomatoes and peppers then we could handle and our enthusiasm kind of dwindled because we were so overwhelmed. We just couldn’t keep up. This year we did 2 different tomatoes, 3 cucumbers, 2 peppers, brussel sprouts, strawberries, and some herbs. Hopefully it is manageable for us! I cant wait to enjoy fresh pickle cucumbers right out of the garden this summer! We will be doing a more in depth update on our raised garden bed in a couple of weeks.
Every few months we get together with my extended family for a dinner and game night. We usually choose a theme. We have done: campfire, where we cooked dinner over the fire, usually hot dogs and s’mores. We have done homemade ravioli. We have done Mexican food night, Chinese food night, and pierogi night. In April, we will be christening my uncle’s new smoker. One of our most popular themes is pizza night. Whoever hosts will prepare the pizza dough and toppings and then we all make the pizzas together. We made 6 pizzas this year. 1 sausage, onion and green pepper, 1 sausage, 1 pepperoni and garlic, 1 hawaiian with pineapple and bacon, 1 bbq with chicken, bbq sauce, and red onions, and 1 veggie with artichokes and black olives. My cousin Cristina is always in charge of cheese. She has a knack for covering every millimeter with cheese. It might take her ½ an hour to cover the pizza but she doesn’t miss any of it. She is truly talented.
Following a vacation that included 2 Thanksgiving dinners, constant snacking, excessive drinking and enough football to induce reality TV withdrawals I am in desperate need of spinach and beet detox. Enter this salad.
A few weeks ago Kara and I went to a class at Dave’s Specialty Foods along with Jen, Cristina and about 35 other women. I love going to cooking demos because we learn a lot and we leave feeling inspired. Plus, random Tuesdays with friends, food and wine are my absolute favorite!